Why the Chicago Bulls Must Act Now and Pursue Kevin Love
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There hasn't been anything hinted about Love coming to Chicago, nor has he indicated that he would love to be a Bull. However, there is reason for this speculation due to comments he made on Wednesday that unveil uncertainty about his future with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Love isn't over the way he has been treated by Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and general manager David Kahn. The Timberwolves leadership has been hesitant to assert Love as the cornerstone of their franchise, evidenced by the fact that they gave him a four-year extension last winter rather than a five-year maximum deal.
According to Wojnarowski, Love had this to say concerning the lack of support he has felt:
I don't know who labels people stars, but even [T'wolves owner] Glen Taylor said: I don't think Kevin Love is a star, because he hasn't led us to the playoffs. I mean, it's not like I had much support out there.
That's a tough pill to swallow.
Also according to Wojnarowski, Love called into question the Timberwolves' overall plan,
You walk into the locker room every year, and it's completely turned over. There's new guys everywhere. And then it happens again and again. You start to wonder: Is there really a plan here? Is there really any kind of a … plan?
These comments are clearly forthright and certainly give reason to deem Love's future in Minnesota uncertain.
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Amidst these comments in the Yahoo! article, Love did express that he's willing to stay with the Timberwolves, but it came alongside some poignant remarks about what has already transpired.
I have a very, very good memory, and I always remember the people who have done right by me, and the people who have done wrong by me. It will be embedded in my brain, and something I won't forget about. There's no telling what will happen. I would love to compete for a championship in Minnesota, but …
That "but" should obviously be highlighted, and what's clear from these further comments is that not only is some healing needed between Love and team management, but they also must build a contender—and build it fast.
Love has an opt-out clause in his contract come 2015, and Wojnarowski writes that Love doesn't want just a mere playoff team by then but a team that contends.
According to ESPN, Love did state that, "I'd love to end my career as a Timberwolf." However, with all of his other comments in view, it sure seems like this is more of a courtesy comment than anything. Based on the apparent tension between him and Minnesota management and his pressing desire to play for a true contender, Love's long-term future in Minnesota appears cloudy at best.
Love's sentiments inevitably spark speculation, and it's only natural for Bulls fans to ponder how they could lure K-Love to the Windy City. He would be a seemingly perfect fit next to Derrick Rose, and this would enable Love the opportunity to compete for a championship on a yearly basis.
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His aforementioned opt-clause comes in 2015, which is something for the Bulls to perhaps mark on the calendar. However, they should truthfully view this with more urgency. Why not attempt to act now and concoct different trade scenarios to send Minnesota's way? Why not throw numerous pieces on the table and seek to land Love sooner rather than later?
The reality is that the Bulls have trade assets that the Timberwolves would be forced to consider. If Love is truly dissatisfied and if Minnesota management is more focused on building around Ricky Rubio, then a blockbuster offer would very likely be something for Minnesota to entertain.
Here's a blockbuster deal that could potentially serve as a win-win:
Bulls receive: PF Kevin Love, PF Dante Cunningham, SF Chase Budinger
Timberwolves receive: SF Luol Deng, PF Taj Gibson, PG Marquis Teague, the rights to F Nikola Mirotic, future protected first-round pick from the Charlotte Bobcats
(See the deal on Trade Machine, although there is no way to view Mirotic and the draft pick.)
Financially, this deal works, and in terms of these teams' futures, it also features a great deal of logic.
In Chicago's case, the rationale is obvious: they would receive a legitimate No. 2 threat to pair with Rose. Losing Deng and Gibson would hurt in the short-term, but the Bulls could find players over the years to fill the gaps alongside Rose and Love. The bottom line is that a core of Rose, Love and Joakim Noah would be dynamic.
From Minnesota's standpoint, they land a handful of quality pieces in return. The best of them all might be Mirotic, a blossoming young Spaniard who oozes with upside (click here for more information on him). Furthermore, Deng and Gibson give them proven assets in the frontcourt, and Teague and the first-round pick give them promising elements for the future.
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Bidding farewell to a superstar like Love would surely not be easy for Minnesota, but a deal like this is enticing. Five years down the road, they could end up being the major winners of this deal. It's thus evident that the Bulls and Timberwolves could benefit from doing business with one another.
Returning to Chicago's perspective, this pursuit is an ideal opportunity to attempt to bring in another bona fide superstar. If you have any doubts whether Love truly is such a superstar, consider his numbers from last season: 26.0 points per game and 13.3 rebounds per outing. That kind of production on a game-to-game basis is unheard of. Imagine this type of workhorse in Tom Thibodeau's system, running the pick-and-roll with a healthy D Rose.
Interestingly, while Love has never specifically asserted a desire to play for Chicago, he did, according to CBS Sports, say this after a March 2011 loss to the Bulls,
[The Bulls are] all on the same page, everybody. When they break from the huddle, everybody's in. You can tell everybody has the utmost respect for each other and they're all in it to win it. In that regard, I envy that. I salivate for that. I like that a lot.
Such a comment sure makes you wonder if Love has already envisioned what it would be like to play in Chi-town.
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In the coming days and weeks, Minnesota may declare that Love is not on the trading block, and Love may even declare that he's perfectly content in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." But his comments on Wednesday will not be forgotten, and they reveal that the heart of the matter is this: Love ultimately desires to play for a championship-contending team, and he yearns for this ASAP.
The Bulls can provide him with this, and they can also provide Minnesota with more than enough compensation for the 24-year-old power forward.
The time for the Bulls to pursue this is now. There could be a window of opportunity here for the Bulls to inherit what they desperately need. If they somehow rattle off a deal like what's outlined above, Bulls fans should not just be thinking about winning a title, but establishing a dynasty.
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